Between 1979 and 1982 we reviewed 1000 consecutive admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit of this hospital. Sixty five infants had positive blood cultures. Mortality was 70% among 17 infants who had septicaemia in the first 48 hours of life and for whom appropriate treatment may have been too late because of difficulties of early diagnosis. In the remaining 48 infants mortality was 12%, septicaemia occurred later, and was associated with Staphylococcus epidermidis (56%) and with the presence of an intravascular catheter (50%).
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